Vocal Point 24/03/2020

Hi all

I hope you are keeping well. It’s a difficult time for everyone and the pressure on family life, jobs and finances is enormous. It really is a time to put community before self, with the knowledge that things will eventually get better.

On top of everything else I have the sad news to pass on that one of our members – Les Ladbury – has passed away. Mainly of you will remember the excellent presentation he did as part of our member’s evening last autumn. We haven’t seen him in recent weeks due to ill health. His death is not related to Covid19. Our thoughts are with his wife Anne at this sad time

I don’t think that there is anything I can do to lighten the mood this evening. However, by way of distraction, you may want to respond to and participate in Tony Gervis’s offer to critique your images.

Best wishes


Vocal Point 16/03/2020

Hi all 

Another week and the world seems to be just a little bit crazier. We are very mindful that what is happening at the minute has the potential to affect our daily lives – and that includes our society. Currently, we intend to carry on with our meetings as normal, whilst taking sensible precautions. Government policy (rightly or wrongly) – is for individuals to take precautions for their own welfare.  We realise that some of our more elderly members will be very concerned and understand their predicament. If anyone has strong feelings about how our society should act in this situation, then please let me know.

On a lighter note – has anyone been watching Age of the Image on BBC. It contains some wonderful and thought-provoking images from history, but also touches on the power of images to influence and manipulate people. I watched the second episode on catchup last night. Many of you will be familiar with Robert Capa – amongst other things he took some images of D-Day in 1944 – he was actually on the beach whilst the worst of the action was taking place. There are 11 images from that day – it should have been 110, however, a lab technician destroyed the remainder during processing It makes you think. Nowadays a single photographer would have taken thousands, but that just wasn’t possible for Capa.

This week we have the MCPF Portfolio. This is based on 2018 and has been travelling around the clubs in the Midlands ever since. The first half will be prints, followed by PDIs after the break. It should be good, so I hope to see you all then.

Best wishes


Vocal Point 09/03/2020

Hi all

So we had another excellent competition night last week with our interpretation of Architecture. It was good to see a wide range of subject matter from many authors. Once again, the standard was very high and the honours were spread across a range of award winners.

We followed this on Thursday with the Five a Side competition at Stourbridge. The first half of the programme was for Prints and we actually lead this convincingly. The second half was for PDI’s and this was a different story. Despite our entries comprising work which has been judged very highly in previous competitions, we fared very badly. As they say – you can please some of the judges, some of the time, but not all of the judges, all of the time. Overall, we came third. Droitwich were the overall winners. 

This week we have the return of Tony Gervis for the early session. You should have already received an email from Tony. His presentation will cover   ” SPORT, REFLECTIONS and A WINTERS DAY ”  and should be as excellent as ever. There will follow a presentation from Penny and Spike Pidduck – mainly based on (but not exclusively) underwater photography. All reports that I have had tell me that this should be an excellent evening.

Two events for your diary –

1.  This weekend 14-17 March we have the Photography Show at the NEC. I’m sure a lot of you are going. Why not make arrangements to meet up whilst you are there, or even car share to get there. We will be there on Saturday

2.  The following weekend 21-22 March is Comic Con 2020. Most of you will have already met Sophie who has modelled for us at Avoncroft. This is just a flavour of what to expect at Comic Con. I believe it also possible to get many great images outside of the show before participants enter the building.

For those who missed last week, I have a camera battery that was left at Avoncroft 2 weeks ago. It is for a Canon. If you think that this may be yours, please let me know, and I will bring it tomorrow.

Finally, many of you will remember Roger Tyler – one of our past members. He has asked me to pass on his thanks to those of you who signed his 70th Birthday card recently.

See you all tomorrow.


Vocal Point 01/03/2020

Hi all

The studio night went well last week. Liliana and Ashleigh were excellent models – experienced and very helpful with their poses. As requested by Colin – please send them some images from the night. It’s not asking a lot to forward a few images. Like me, you may not have downloaded them from your camera yet, but that is going to be one of my tasks for this week. So why not do it whilst everything is fresh in your mind.

This week we have the Set Subject competition for PDIs – Architecture. Good luck to everyone who has entered. We have an early session which I will be leading. I previously asked for ideas and several of you have responded. Time permitting, we will cover –

sRGB profile and how to change it.

Changing image sizes for competition and printing

Adding a border or keyline

Moving items within an image or creating a montage.

I hope to produce handouts on the above.

We may run out of time, but if we can, I would like to show you a very simple (and fast) technique for adding more “pop” to your colour images especially landscapes. It actually involves working in black and white – confused? You shouldn’t be at the end of the session.

Finally, just a reminder that we have the Five a Side interclub competition at Stourbridge this week – Venue The Bonded Warehouse, Time 8-00 PM on Thursday. It would be good to have support for the club. Remember, car sharing may be useful for easier parking.

See you all Tuesday


Interclub Competition

Hi all

One item that I forgot to announce last night concerns the next Interclub competition. We are taking part in the 5 a Side competition at Stourbridge on Thursday 5 March – next week. This consists of 5 clubs, 5 prints, 5 PDIs. To date we have done exceptionally well in recent competitions – coming first and second, so we would like to keep this run of form going into next week. We have a strong entry and it would be good to have enthusiastic support from our members. Stourbridge PS meet at the  Bonded Warehouse, Canal St, Stourbridge DY8 4LU and the meeting will start at 8-00 PM. Parking may be limited, so car sharing is advisable. 

You may remember that I mentioned recently that we are about to enter our 70th Anniversary year. We are looking at a number of ways to mark this and we would like some input from our members. We feel that we should mark not only our success as a society, but also how we benefit from, and contribute to the wider Bromsgrove community as a whole. Our first sub-committee meeting to discuss this will take place on Monday 9 March. If you have any ideas please contact myself or Richard Chapman, Jan Harris, John Davidson or Tony Hawksbee.

Finally, we would just like to confirm that Ele Rea has joined the committee as our Membership Liaison Officer. If there are any matters that you are unhappy with within the club, then please talk to Ele. She will act as a liaison between the members and the committee.

Well, that’s all for now.

Best wishes


Vocal Point 24/02/2020

Hi all

The weeks seem to pass quickly. (It must be my age). Just to remind you all that entries for the Set Subject PDI’s – Architecture will close a midnight tomorrow. I will be interested to see how we choose to interpret this subject.

Tomorrow evening we have a studio night. As this requires a lot of setting up there will be no early session. If you are free to help with setting up – and just as important, the taking down at the end – then we will be there from 7-00 pm

Colin has acquired two great models for tomorrow so please remember to bring along your cameras. If you’ve got time, it can help to plan your shots before you get there. Have a look in magazines and poses that you would like to try with the model on the night. Don’t be shy – the models expect some direction from the photographer, and will be only too willing to help you.

Hope to see you all then


Vocal Point 17/02/2020

Hi all

Last Tuesday we saw another toughly fought competition with really high standards of entry in all the classifications. We really do give the judges a tough time (not that we feel sorry for them) – picking the top three is a challenge. It’s good to see the images competing for the top spot coming from a wide range of members – it really is very difficult to predict who will come top in our annual awards this year.

This week Colin will be doing the early session with another of his print critique nights. These are proving to be invaluable in raising the standard of entries into our print competitions – and not just the novice section. So, please bring something along for positive critique and advice.

The main event will be a presentation from Bob and Sue Moore – “Moore and Even Moore Prints”. Our longer established members will need no introduction to them. For our newer members – you are in for a treat.

See you all then.


Vocal Point 10/02/2020

Good morning everyone.

What a stormy weekend, I hope none of you has been affected by the extreme weather. Perhaps some of you went storm chasing for images of crashing waves. For anyone into landscape photography, or anyone that appreciates stunning images, then have a look at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-51386024 Some great work, and plenty of inspiration for everyone.

Talking of stunning images, it is not long to our set subject competition – Architecture. This is for PDIs and will be held on 3 March. There is still plenty of time to get some images under your belt. In the West Midlands we are lucky to have such a wide range of architectural design from different eras, so I look forward to seeing your work.

And talking of good work, I am delighted to report that Julie Hall has had 4 acceptances in the Solihull Open Exhibition – 2 of which scored 14 out of 15 She now only needs 2 more acceptances for her BPE 2*. Well done Julie.

Finally, this week we should have seen the return of the ever popular Roger Lewis Foundation Course in our early session. We have, at short notice, a change to the early session this week. Unfortunately, Beks has been called away to work at some distance from home and is unlikely to get back to Bromsgrove in time. I will bring forward the presentation I was planning for 3 weeks time which will be an introduction to using layers, and why you should get into the habit of using them all the time. We will cover the adjustments that can be made within layers. Now, all I need to do is prepare something.

This is followed by the 3rd Print Competition judged by Ralph Duckett. Good luck everyone, and I will see you there. Best wishes David

Vocal Point 03/02/2020

Hi all

Before I get on to other matters, could you please note that I have attached a new copy of the Tea Rota. This rota is new for this season and up until Christmas it seemed to run without a hitch. Since then we have had 3 occasions where members have not been aware that they are on the rota. It is only one night per year when we request that members help out and it has been well received. If (for any reason) you are unable to do your allocated night, then I would be grateful if you could make arrangements with another member who has yet to do their stint and do a swap. Worst-case scenario, have a word with me. Many thanks.

The night with Alex Sharp on equestrian photography well, and seemed to create a buzz in the room when people realised that it may be possible to earn a little bit from their hobby.

This week we have a print critique night. Colin has already sent out all the information required for this and we look forward to your support. Please bring along one to two prints for analysis and critique. There is no early session this week.

Also this week, we have the Six Societies Competition hosted by Studley CC. We have a strong entry of prints from 6 members and we hope to replicate our success in the recent Midphot Competition. Once again, Colin has already sent out all the information that you need to attend. Parking is at a premium I believe, so car sharing is recommended. I will be leaving Bromsgrove about 7-15 and I will have space for 2 to 3 passengers. Please contact me if you would like a lift.

Well that’s it for today, I will see you all tomorrow.


Vocal Point 20/1/2020

Hi all

It will be good to get back to the serious side of photography this week. The New Year Party and the Knockout Competition were a lot of fun and gave us a chance to enjoy the social side of our hobby. This Tuesday night we have our 3rd PDI competition (Mono and Nature sections). Hopefully, you have all entered – our judge is John Bissell.

There is a discrepancy between our printed programme and the programme on our website this week, but I would like to confirm that we have an early session this week. Colin will be running a print critique evening. It’s a chance to bring along some of your print work – any size, subject, colour, mono or nature, mounted or unmounted – for an evaluation, positive critique and advice. Evenings like this will build up your confidence in your work.

This is also a reminder that the closing date for entries to Midphot is 8th February 2020. I was blown away by the quality of prints on display at the Knockout Competition last week. I have no doubt that many of the images on display would easily qualify for acceptance to Midphot. If you have never entered an external competition before, then this is a perfect one to start with. PDIs can be entered online, Colin will coordinate our prints so they are taken to Smethwick – rather than needing to post them. If you are worried about the expense it is only 75p per entry. For more details please visit http://www.mcpf.co.uk/

Good luck to all who have entered in the competition this week, and I will see you all then.

Best wishes